It is no big secret that the construction industry is dangerous.
There is a high risk of accidents among workers, and injuries at construction sites can be serious, even fatal. This is because of the site environment where loose beams, heavy equipment, and unstable work platforms are common.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that over one-quarter of construction workers have been injured on the job. Likewise, we have listed some causes of common construction injuries and statistics that demonstrate just how dangerous these jobs can be.
Injury Statistics and Trends | Construction Industry Statistics
According to industry statistics, the construction industry is characterized by its dynamic nature and physically demanding tasks, which unfortunately come with a risk of injuries. Analyzing injury statistics and trends is essential to understanding the safety landscape within the construction sector.
This article delves into important aspects of injury statistics, including early career injury rates, annual reports from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the long-term injury probability that construction workers face.
Early Career Injury Statistics Among Construction Workers
During the initial phases of a construction worker’s career, hazards can be notably marked. Inexperienced workers may lack the familiarity to calculate safety protocols and navigate the complexities of diverse tasks, increasing their vulnerability to accidents.
Ratio and Statistical Analysis Reveal
- In the global construction industry, new workers face an increased risk of injuries within their initial year of employment. This period is characterized by adapting to the work environment and a learning curve associated with safety practices.
- The risk of injuries diminishes as laborers accumulate experience and enhance their ability to identify and address hazards. This highlights the significance of mentorship and comprehensive training for newly employed workers in the labor sector.
OSHA Reports on Annual Construction Worker Injuries
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plays a crucial role in ensuring workplace safety, including in the construction industry.
OSHA’s annual reports provide valuable insights into the state of construction worker injuries, as supported by industry statistics.:
- OSHA collects data on the types of injuries, causes, and circumstances under which they occur. This information informs policymakers, employers, and workers about areas that require targeted interventions.
- Reports reveal trends in injury rates, allowing for a better understanding of whether safety measures and regulations effectively reduce the incidence of accidents and injuries.
- Through cross-year data comparisons, OSHA reports facilitate the identification of emerging concerns and enable monitoring of the advancement of safety initiatives within the construction industry’s data series.
Mortality Risk and Long-term Injury Probability in Construction Industry
Construction work entails risks that extend beyond immediate injuries, including mortality risk and long-term injury probability:
- Construction workers face a mortality risk associated with their job. Factors such as working at heights, operating heavy machinery, and exposure to hazardous substances contribute to this risk.
- Long-term injury probability refers to the likelihood of a worker experiencing injuries over the course of their career. This probability underscores the importance of continuous training, hazard identification, and safety measures throughout a worker’s professional journey.
Injury statistics and trends offer a crucial lens through which we can assess the current state of safety within the construction market.
By comprehending the trends in construction statistics related to injuries, causes, and influence on early career workers, stakeholders can formulate precise strategies to enhance workplace safety.
OSHA’s annual reports provide valuable benchmarks for progress while acknowledging that the mortality risk and long-term injury probability underscores the need for ongoing vigilance and a commitment to fostering a culture of safety.
By analyzing and addressing injury statistics and trends, the construction industry can strive towards minimizing accidents and ensuring the well-being of its workforce.
Common Causes of Construction Injuries
The construction industry is known for its demanding nature and challenging work environments, which unfortunately lead to a significant number of injuries each year as indicated by labor statistics. Understanding the common causes of injuries is crucial for both workers and employers to implement effective safety measures and prevent accidents.
Here are some of the primary causes of construction injuries:
Falling from ladders, scaffolding, and rooftops cause almost 35% of construction injuries. Falls are one of the leading causes of construction injuries and fatalities. Workers often perform tasks at heights, such as working on scaffolding, ladders, or rooftops. These elevated positions elevate the risk of falls, particularly when adequate safety measures are not implemented for the jobs at hand.
Operating heavy equipment such as nail guns, bulldozers, cranes, and sledgehammers can all lead to injury. Construction sites involve a wide range of heavy machinery and equipment, including cranes, bulldozers, nail guns, and more. Accidents can occur when machinery is operated improperly, malfunctions, or lacks proper safety guards. Workers can suffer crush injuries, amputations, or other severe harm.
Hit by a Vehicle
This can happen especially to crews working on roadsides. Workers can be hit by a distracted driver or even a co-worker who may be suffering from health-related issues or exhaustion. Being struck by objects is another common hazard in construction. Tools, materials, or debris can fall from heights, leading to injuries for workers on the ground. Even objects swung or moved by machinery pose a risk if not adequately secured.
Explosions and Burns
Gas leaks, chemicals, and exposed wiring can cause fires, burns, and explosions. Construction sites often involve electrical systems and equipment. Workers may inadvertently come into contact with live wires or faulty equipment, resulting in electrocutions. Electrocutions can cause serious injuries, including burns, internal damage, and even fatalities.
Exposure to Hazardous Substances
Construction sites often have various hazardous substances, including chemicals, asbestos, and gases. Without proper protective measures, workers can inhale toxic fumes, suffer chemical burns, or develop long-term health conditions.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Uneven surfaces, cluttered pathways, and slippery conditions can lead to slips, trips, and falls. While these may seem less severe, they can still cause sprains, fractures, and other injuries.
Caught In/Between Objects
Workers may get caught between heavy objects, machinery, or equipment. Trench collapses, equipment malfunctions and unsecured materials can trap workers, leading to crush injuries, fractures, and other serious harm.
Lack of Proper Training
The absence of proper training can pave the way for accidents, as workers might lack the knowledge required to safely operate equipment or adhere to correct procedures. Adequate training is vital to equip workers with the expertise needed to comprehend potential risks and effectively share methods for their reduction.
Preventing injuries in construction requires a comprehensive approach that includes proper training, adherence to safety protocols, regular equipment maintenance, and the growth of a safety-conscious culture within the environment.
By addressing these common causes of construction injuries head-on, the industry can take significant steps toward creating safer work environments for all personnel.
Preventive Measures to Reduce Construction Fatalities | Construction Management
Providing thorough training to all workers regarding proper equipment use, safety protocols, and hazard recognition is essential. Workers should know how to prevent falls, operate machinery safely, and react in case of emergencies.
Implementing fall protection measures, such as guardrails, harnesses, and safety nets, is crucial for preventing falls from heights. Regular inspection and maintenance of protective equipment are vital.
Proper Equipment Operation:
Workers operating heavy machinery should receive specialized training. Regular maintenance checks and adherence to equipment guidelines are essential to prevent accidents.
Properly secure tools, materials, and equipment to prevent them from falling. Barricade areas where objects might fall to protect workers below.
Adhere to strict electrical safety procedures, including proper grounding, insulation, and lockout/tagout protocols. Workers should be trained to identify potential electrical hazards.
Implement trench protection measures, like shoring and sloping, to prevent collapses. Regularly inspect trenches and ensure workers stay a safe distance from excavation edges.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
Ensure workers wear appropriate PPE, including hard hats, high-visibility clothing, gloves, and steel-toed boots. PPE can significantly reduce the severity of injuries.
Regularly assess builder sites for potential hazards and address them promptly. Encourage workers to report unsafe conditions and near-miss incidents aligning with safety forecasts.
Sustain transparent and effective communication among workers, supervisors, and management, attributing the effectiveness of communication to ensure everyone receives due credit for acknowledging potential risks and adhering to safety measures.
Foster a culture of safety where workers prioritize and actively participate in maintaining a safe working environment. Ensure recognition and reward safe practices.
Construction fatalities are not inevitable outcomes; they are preventable tragedies.
By acknowledging the “Fatal Four” causes and consistently implementing preventive measures, construction companies can significantly reduce the risk of fatal accidents. The duty to cultivate a safety-centric culture that prioritizes human life lies with workers, supervisors, managers, and regulatory bodies in the realm of management. By providing education, training, appropriate equipment, and a dedicated focus on safety, we can enhance the safety of construction sites for the entire population engaged in these endeavors.
Injuries by the Numbers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (U.S. BLS) reports that 60% of construction injuries occur within an employee’s first year.
Additionally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports one in ten construction workers are injured every year. Furthermore, throughout their careers, construction employees have a 1 in 200 chance of dying from injuries sustained while on a job site.
A U.S. BLS injury report for 2019 listed 1,061 construction worker deaths that year.
OSHA reports show the top four causes of construction deaths are:
- Getting struck by an object
- Caught inside or between objects
These “fatal four” collectively contribute to more than 60% of the prevailing trends in construction-related fatalities.
The total annual cost of all construction injuries in the United States is over $11.5 billion. Moreover, fatal construction injuries are approximately $5 billion of that total.
Alabama construction workers are certainly not exempt from the dangers of construction jobs. The U.S. BLS reported 18 deaths from construction injuries in 2019, accounting for 20% of fatal work-related injuries for the state. Additionally, 1,400 cases of non-fatal construction injuries were reported in Alabama that year.
In short, dangers are all around a construction site. No matter how safe and prepared a worker is, accidents happen. As a result, safety measures such as harnesses, safety nets, guardrails, and helmets are necessary. These measures can save lives and allow men and women in construction to make it home safely to their families.
If you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury on a construction site or have lost a loved one because of those injuries, seek the compensation you deserve.
Engaging a Skilled Construction Injury Attorney: Navigating the Legal Path in the Construction Sector
If you or a loved one has suffered a construction-related injury, navigating the legal complexities of the situation can be overwhelming. In such challenging times, seeking the guidance of an experienced construction injury attorney can make a significant difference in your pursuit of justice and rightful compensation.
A construction injury attorney specializes in representing individuals who have sustained injuries or accidents on construction sites. These legal professionals possess a comprehensive view of the construction industry’s dynamics, safety regulations, and personal injury laws that fall under this category. They act as advocates for injured workers, ensuring their rights are protected and that they receive fair compensation for their losses.
Dealing with a construction-related injury is emotionally, financially, and physically challenging.
Engaging the services of an experienced construction injury attorney can provide you with the guidance, support, and legal expertise needed to navigate this difficult journey.
They can help you pursue the compensation you deserve while holding responsible parties accountable for their negligence.
If you or someone you know has suffered a construction injury, don’t hesitate to reach out to an attorney who specializes in this area of law to discuss your options and secure the justice you deserve.
Set up a free consultation with us, and we’ll help you decide what’s best for you and your situation.